The 10 Best Gaming VR Headsets

Updated May 12, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

Best High-End
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Virtual reality is among the most rapidly advancing fields of technology, and one primary reason is its entertainment value. Even better than your own private movie screening, interactive VR delivers more thrilling and immersive gaming than has ever been possible before. One of these top-rate headsets will put you on the path to fun, no matter how seriously you take your games. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best gaming vr headset on Amazon.

10. Merge Goggles

Available in several bright colors, the Merge Goggles are a functional and affordable choice, because they're easy to clean and simple to use with most phones. They're tested and approved safe for kids aged 10 years and older.
  • lightweight and easily adjustable
  • won't break in a backpack
  • lack advanced features
Brand MERGE
Model VRG-01P
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Acer Mixed Reality

The Acer Mixed Reality is an entry-level member of Microsoft's up-and-coming proprietary family. It works with an expanding variety of games and apps, though it's a little overpriced, given its moderate full-VR capabilities.
  • 1440 by 1440 pixels per eye
  • four-part motion tracking system
  • below-average field of view
Brand Acer
Model AH101-D8EY
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Vive Pro

The Vive Pro is HTC's high-end offering, eclipsing most of the competition in image definition and overall immersion. It features two OLED screens at nearly 3K resolution each, but to take full advantage of them, you'll need a seriously fast PC.
  • powerful active noise cancelling
  • extremely accurate tracking
  • too costly for most consumers
Brand HTC
Model 99HANW001-00
Weight 13.8 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Samsung Gear

The Samsung Gear is a polished take on the common mobile style, so while you'll still have to slide a high-end smartphone inside, you will have the comfort of a durable, quality suspension that should hold up in the long run.
  • compatible with usb-c devices
  • built-in oculus and netflix apps
  • minor moisture and overheating risks
Brand Samsung
Model SM-R325NZVAXAR
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Oculus Go

The fully standalone Oculus Go is the first of its kind to deliver such great visuals in an ultra-portable package. It's lightweight and streamlined enough to provide a comfortable and user-friendly experience at home or on the go.
  • speakers built into the sides
  • ideal for casual gamers
  • limited motion tracking
Brand Oculus
Model 301-00102-01
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Pansonite SB

Thanks to modern display technology, the Pansonite SB is all that most people need to play with stunning HD graphics. It doesn't cost much, it holds nearly any smartphone securely, and there's even enough room inside to accommodate glasses.
  • great for watching movies
  • not a standalone solution
  • doesn't work well with iphones
Brand Pansonite
Model SB-HEJ-VR
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. PlayStation VR

The PlayStation VR offers a plug-and-play installation, like most console accessories on the market. It delivers a high-contrast picture, deep and inky blacks, and responsive 3D sound, and it's the go-to choice for fans of Sony's flagship line.
  • largest number of available titles
  • 1080p oled screen
  • graphics aren't as good as pc models
Brand Sony
Model 3001560
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Samsung HMD Odyssey

The Samsung HMD Odyssey is a high-end Windows Mixed Reality system, which adds to the virtual experience by integrating with real-world objects. Its Microsoft-based platform is still in its early stages, though it does support many SteamVR titles.
  • built-in microphone array
  • especially well padded
  • pristine video and audio quality
Brand Samsung
Model XE800ZAA-HC1US
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Oculus Rift

As long as your computer can handle all the processing, the Oculus Rift is near the top of the field when it comes to image quality and game availability. It's considerably lighter and more balanced than its closest competition, as well.
  • upgraded motion controllers
  • works with third-party headphones
  • elegant and durable construction
Brand Oculus
Model 301-00095-01
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is still the standard for beautiful and immersive visuals, leading the pack in clarity as well as the amount of software it can run. It's known for its highly precise tracking, which is effective in spaces as large as 20 square feet.
  • comes with controllers and bases
  • extensive steamvr support
  • smooth and intuitive operation
Brand HTC
Model 99HALN002-00
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The History Of Games

Human beings have made tremendous accomplishments throughout history in the name of entertainment. The earliest sports developed significant cultural meaning for those who played. Archaeologists have unearthed board games in the tombs of ancient rulers. Playing games has always been a part of individual and social development for nearly every child growing up. And no matter how busy we get or how old we are, there's absolutely no reason why we have to stop such a fun activity.

We're apt to apply the newest and most cutting-edge machinery to the purpose of our amusement. At one point, that meant an animal bladder and maybe a stick. Games of the board and card varieties have similarly been around for hundreds and thousands of years in various iterations.

It's only been since the 1970s that we've played games using machines that process digital data — also known as computers. The original arcade games used (at the time) powerful 8-bit processors, and they were large, heavy, expensive, high-maintenance, and so not ideal for home use.

Around the same time, home computer gaming also began its lowly birth when friends across the world took to the classic Pong console in the comfort of their own basements for ultimate bragging rights. The boom in home computing over the next decade brought consumers various options for electronic entertainment in machines like the Apple II and the Atari 2600.

Over time, consoles continued to advance, each successive generation ushering in a new level of graphics, control, and playability. Meanwhile, PCs began their rise to the top as bastions of data processing, social interaction, and — you guessed it — electronic gaming. Entire industries have arisen around gaming, not the least of which is the development of powerful hardware and software to paint vivid, 3-D images. Video game playing itself is now an actual professional sport, with some e-sports players making greater salaries than minor league baseball players.

So, it's time we took gaming seriously.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

And why shouldn't video games be an important part of our lives? There's nothing inherently wrong with playing video games, that is, as long as your homework gets done first. And the benefits of all types of games has been apparent for as long as they've been played. Even in early society, games served many purposes other than just passing otherwise boring hours.

The physical benefits of early games helped keep the whole tribe in peak condition for the hunt. Athletic and strategic competitions were and are still used to help train warriors for combat situations. Board games of antiquity often contained moral teachings and ethical tests to help hone one's power of judgment. And playing with human beings increases our social skills and helps us bond with others.

Video games, in particular, have their own benefits. Increased hand-eye coordination is the most obvious, but it goes far deeper than that. They've been linked to the treatment of pain and even depression. There's actually evidence that playing action games trains your vision and helps with critical tasks like night-time driving. A lot of today's games involve extensive physical movement and can encourage athletic pursuits outside of the living room.

Of course, one wouldn't associate Call of Duty with such traditions as the ancient Egyptian Senet or the always popular ball-in-a-cup. In fact, one of today's most innovative electronic developments truly could not seem farther from the games of years past. It's called virtual reality, and it has forever changed the gaming landscape.

The immersion that virtual reality units allow is second to none. As a result, VR is showing never-before-seen promise with therapy patients like ill children and PTSD sufferers. Businesses are also taking advantage of the technology for tasks like recruitment, training, and property purchasing. But most people will experience the wonders of virtual reality via their home computer or console.

A Whole New World

As with any high-end electronic, VR gaming headsets present a wide range of selections with varying features and build quality. Some use a video feed from your computer and others use your phone itself as the screen. Other units are self-contained, letting you dive into a fantastic 3-D world without being tied to a device. Mobile models will be less expensive, and you'll have to make sure that your phone will work with the exact headset you choose. And there are countless interactive videos on the internet that these headsets will help you enjoy.

High-end VR units will typically connect to your home computer and contain various cameras and sensors as well as a top-of-the-line video display. A model's physical configuration and weight are definitely important considerations when making sure you'll be comfortable. If a headset is heavy, or isn't shaped right, or if the image appears blurry, you certainly won't end up wearing it for very long. So, how it makes your head and eyes feel is of utmost importance.

The best VR units capture your body movement through multiple sensors, so the motions you make with your body will be well-represented in the game. Some include integrated speakers and microphones, letting you converse with your teammates and the AI effortlessly.

You will be moving around during this experience, while not paying much attention to the real world. So make sure you have a clear area with a clean, safe floor where you won't trip and fall back into reality when you're supposed to be battling hordes of zombies. Be wary of motion sickness, too, which is a common problem for those new to VR. If you get dizzy, just take a break.

Always remember those breaks, whether for your eye health, to use the bathroom, to eat food, or simply to let your family know that you're still alive. You're just busy living in a virtual reality.


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Last updated on May 12, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.


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